October Money Challenge
Happy Monday, Bitches (Chunt please…clap)! It’s a brand new week and we’re kicking off a brand new month so I figured it might be time for a Basic Bitch Money Challenge!
This month’s challenge is all for me. I’ve been reviewing our September spending to see where we could do a bit better. Turns out, we could do a lot better in a few areas. We ate out a lot this month and we had some extra expenses at the vet and at the dentist that were not accounted for. Plus, I spent some dough on a new tattoo, a trip to the spa, and a night out with friends!
Still, I’m not going to tackle ALL of those categories this month. Some of them were flukes. But I definitely can tackle our number one money sink category:
This is always our worst category by far. We go for convenience, and this month we blew past our monthly Eating Out budget by about $300! So, for the month of October we’re going to be focusing on staying within our actual budget.
If you’ve not already set up a household budget, make sure you do that! Check out how I categorize my spending here.
What I’d suggest is that you review (using Mint!) your last couple month’s Food & Dining budget. See what your average monthly spending is in that category. Then? Just see if you can keep it under by a couple hundred bucks. That’s it!
The goal here is to just do a little bit better than we did the month before. And if you’re not already used to budgeting for these types of categories, picking an arbitrary number out of thin air is not going to work.
One thing that I’ve seen recommend is to pull out a calendar and mark out any days in which you know you’ll be eating out. For instance, you know you’re meeting friends for dinner next Saturday so you’ll estimate $75 for that night out. You can tell that the second weekend in October is packed full so you figure you’ll be stopping at the drive-thru at least once to make it a little less stressful. That’s another $20 you need to budget.
You can put together a quick overview of all your eating out needs at the end of the month and just try to stick with those. It might help.
For me, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to help me with this goal.
Packing my lunch for work.
I’ve mentioned before that I try to bring my lunch to work with me. It’s easier and cheaper that way. I’ve got a month’s worth of meals planned out, plus some leeway built in so that I can not stress too much if forget my lunch on the counter as I’m rushing out the door (*cough*thatneverhappens*cough).
Packing my husband’s lunch
He enjoys eating out with his coworkers and really looks forward to it. But two days a week he’s getting a packed lunch. That will help us stay within our budget.
It’s fall, so I’ve busted out the crockpot and I’m meal planning like a fool. On Sunday, October 1st I got to making soups, plus a couple casseroles I prepped popped in the freezer for the month. 2 hours in the kitchen while I sing along to 90’s pop music means I’ve got a handful of meals that we can eat this month that are so easy to make my usual “I’m so tired” excuse just won’t cut it.
If you need any other ideas for quick and easy make your own meals, check out my “Make Your Own” series for inspiration!
So what do you think? Care to join me for my October Money Challenge? Got any other tips or tricks to save money on eating out? I want to hear them!
PS – I’m going to kick OneSheet’s ass at this challenge! Gauntlet, thrown down!